My Life In Travel: Phil Vickery
'There's nowhere more beautiful than Cornwall'
Saturday 24 October 2009
First holiday memory?
I have happy memories of camping holidays as a youngster in Cornwall. I'm from Kilkhampton near Bude and we'd go down to places like Polzeath. As parents you tend to worry more about the weather but as a kid it didn't matter – I remember spending day after day on the beach.
A holiday in Barbados a couple of years ago with my wife. We went for a week and had a fantastic time. The place and the food were great but what made it was the people that we met there – we're still in touch with a lot of them. The people always make a trip for me.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
It has to be Cornwall, because that's where I am from and there are beautiful places and great memories there. I also like the rugged countryside and the vast wilderness of Scotland. Maybe because I'm a country boy.
What have you learnt from your travels?
As a rugby player, I'm lucky to travel all round the world to wonderful places. You learn about different cultures and experiences and how other people live. I've recently come back from South Africa where I saw up close the poverty in the townships.
Ideal travelling companion?
My wife Kate. We have a family holiday with the kids once a year but we are both similar and like to chill on holiday. We like very low-key holidays in each other's company, enjoying the sun, with good food and wine.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I like a bit of history and finding a bit out about the place, but predominately I like to relax and eat well.
Greatest travel luxury?
We travel business class with rugby which is very nice. Otherwise I'm a pretty light traveller and I don't worry about taking much with me.
I enjoy reading magazines but I'm not a big book reader. I like to switch off on holiday. The last book I read was Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life.
Where has seduced you?
One place I'd like to visit again is Canada. I went when I was 19 and it really blew me away. I'd also like to visit a lot of the places I've already been like Australia and New Zealand and visit properly, rather than just seeing the hotels and rugby grounds.
Better to travel or arrive?
I don't mind travelling. I can switch off, so delays don't bother me. I don't waste energy fretting about things like that.
Favourite walk/swim/ ride/drive?
A great drive is along the A39 down the North Cornwall coast. Duckpool Beach near Bude is a great place for walking and swimming – there's nowhere more beautiful in the world to me.
Worst travel experience?
I've had a few delays – for example being stuck in LA on the way to New Zealand – but thankfully my bags haven't been lost before.
Fortunately, the hotels I've stayed in have always been pretty good.
The Pennyhill Park in Surrey where we have our rugby camp is a great hotel. I also loved the Trianon Palace in Versailles, which was incredibly beautiful.
Best meal abroad?
The food at The Cliff Restaurant in Barbados was the best I've ever had – I really enjoyed the whole experience of the service, the food the wine.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
Check the bed out by jumping on it to see if the mattress is good. Then I check the bath.
I'd love to go to the Maldives, and also the South Pacific to do a bit of island hopping. I've not seen much of the States and I'd like to see a bit more South America too. I love the Inca architecture in Peru – I'd like to learn a bit more about that culture and history.
Paris: you've got such a great mix of the modern and old, with beautiful buildings. I think it feels like there's a bit of mystery there too.
I haven't got any plans to go anywhere at the moment!
Bmi is the official airline sponsor of the Rugby Football Union ( flybmi.com )
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